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Workshop: The Energy Infrastructure-Democracy Tension?

Solar panels cleaned

The ABI team hosts scholars on energy infrastructures from Europe, North Africa, and Latin America, to discuss the recent literature on the subject. The main objective is to offer an innovative perspective on how to rethink transregional practices in the potentially authoritarian politics of energy infrastructures. The participants will focus on a specific phenomenon linked to authoritarianism and energy infrastructures in the contexts of the MENA region, European Union, and Latin America around social movements, the transregional aspects of energy infrastructures, and infrastructure's Political Economy.

How can we shed a new light on authoritarian practices by looking at energy infrastructures? Geopolitical aspects seem obvious, but scholars and journalists have also recently highlighted the paradox of "undemocratic" aspects of infrastructure within democracies. In the past few months, the United Kingdom and Germany for example, have been practiced unprecedented preventive detentions to the expense of numerous climate activists.

We contend that infrastructures play a crucial role within the authoritarian/democratic balance. Political practices profoundly influence the conditions under which the implementation of energy infrastructures takes place. We ask to what extent democratic and authoritarian practices shape North/South energy infrastructure relations. Actors contesting or supporting infrastructure energy projects is also part of this inquiry. Which values do they embrace? What repertoires of resistance do those contesting such projects employ in the face of potential coercion? Accordingly, the workshop will revolve around social movements, transregional relations, and a political economy approach.